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Running (K)Ubuntu 14.05 on Intel i7 4790K

This entry was posted by on Saturday, 6 June, 2015 at

This week I upgraded my old AMD X2 (one of the first dual-core 64-bit processors) to an Intel i7 4790K. The simple reason? After more than eight years the system fell apart.

I quit using MS Windows around the time Ubuntu 3.04 came out. My PC has seen every version since and support has always been good and the system fast. In contrast to Windows, a computer running Linux does not become slower with each update. But a couple of factors pressed the need to upgrade to newer hardware.

The USB system often complained it could not supply enough voltage for even my keyboard and mouse.
Sometimes the drives could not be detected. Sometimes during booting Linux would tell me it “Failed to wakeup CPU01”, that’s not good…

Also, my 256MB Nvidia Gefore 7600GT was no longer properly supported by nvidia’s driver, causing some glitches every now and then.

Back in the days, I simply bought the best money could buy – within limits of course – and that resulted in a PC which lasted 8+ years and still perform well. That seems like a good investment, given that I use the PC on a daily basis.

Since I am not a gamer, I do no longer need a dedicated graphics card. And with the integrated graphics in the i7 (HD Graphics 4600), KDE runs fine in a triple-screen setup, it really is sufficiently powerful to run Compiz with OpenGL with the Wobbly Windows etc. at full HD resolution.

Upgrading was really simple; I replaced everything but my drives, plugged the drives in, and Linux booted with everything working out of the box. Try that with a Windows installation, it will freak out if you even do so much as change the mouse…

The build:

* ASRock B85 Anniversary
* Corsair Vengeance DDR (2x8GB 1866MHz CL9)
* Intel Core i7 4790K 4GHz (4.4GHz Turbo) quad-core with HT
* Scythe Mugen 4


* The ASRock B85 Anniversary is a good value board with not too many bells and whistles. No need to spend money on extra SATA connectors or RAID options I don’t need.

* I was amazed that Intel included the same boxed cooler with the 4790K that they include with their Celeron. Because I wanted silence I got the Mugen 4 to replace the boxed cooler. With BOINC stressing the CPU with 8 Seti@Home processes, temperatures rise to 70 degrees. With the boxed cooler the overheat-protection would have kicked in for sure, throttling the CPU. You don’t buy a kick-ass CPU if you cannot use it properly. Conclusion: do NOT use the boxed cooler with this CPU!

* The Scythe Mugen 4 is rather large, as is the Corsair Vengeance memory (or, the heatspreader on it I should say). The fan can easily be mounted a bit upward, giving enough space for the memory modules. In this configuration, it fit only JUST in my Antec P180 case.

* With memory being as cheap as it is nowadays, 16 gigabytes is very affordable. I can recommend installing ‘Preload’, which loads frequently used programs to memory so no disk-reads are necessary when you want to start it. Obviously, gains of this are larger when running from an SSD (which I have been doing for years) than when running from a spinning disk.

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